This Movement is Srila Prabhupada’s Mercy Upon the Conditioned Souls of this World

This Movement is Srila Prabhupada’s Mercy Upon the Conditioned Souls of this World
Originally published as; Reply To Chakra Ritvik Debate, but timely today as the Battle over Bangalore continues…
By; Locanananda dasa
Editorial, Jun 30 (VNN)

Perhaps the most significant point is, that for members of ISKCON, the most important source of authoritative statements concerning the process of initiation are the words, spoken or written, of our own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada.

After offering his association to his disciples over the years, by the time he was ready to announce his plan for future initiations after his disappearance, he could judge exactly to what extent his leading disciples would be able to follow in his footsteps by acting as gurus. Therefore, in his final instructions, he announced that he would recommend some of his disciples to serve as officiating acharyas, acting as his representatives. He did not declare anyone to be a full-fledged, fully realized, fully independent diksa guru to be worshiped by all as he himself had been worshiped. Instead, he named certain members of the GBC to occupy this post and to perform the service of accepting disciples on his behalf in addition to all of their other duties as zonal secretaries.

It was (and still is) obvious that no single individual could have been called upon to succeed him as head of the institution. This was never what Srila Prabhupada had in mind for ISKCON, even for future generations. … As a result of their misunderstanding of Srila Prabhupada’s final instructions, the GBC members who began to initiate thought that they were personally capable of delivering their disciples from birth and death because they were diksa gurus. The long-lasting effect of the illusion they created was to push Srila Prabhupada into the background by denying his second generation of followers direct access to him.

…We all need to be reminded that this movement is Srila Prabhupada’s mercy upon the conditioned souls of this world. It is Srila Prabhupada who is meant to receive the credit and glorification for whatever is achieved by his followers throughout the course of this movement. As an eternal associate of Lord Sri Krishna, Srila Prabhupada is capable of entering the heart of any sincere follower and inspiring and guiding him or her from within.And we should never think that he has abandoned us and is no longer available to us despite our most sincere prayers. His Divine Grace can be reached by whoever opens any of his books to page one and hears from him by submissive oral reception. And the role of anyone who performs initiations in ISKCON now or in the future is to simply encourage everyone to adhere themselves strictly to what has been set forth by our spiritual preceptor as the message of the disciplic succession he represents.

Full article followes;

Reply To Chakra Ritvik Debate

By Locanananda dasa
EDITORIAL, Jun 30 (VNN) —

The misunderstandings that have arisen in ISKCON over the issue of initiations will never be fully resolved by debate. The proper understanding of guru tattva and the implementation of the correct system of initiation that was authorized by Srila Prabhupada can be arrived at only when devotees surrender to the processs of sankirtana, or the congregational chanting of the Holy Name, and the process of istagosthi, discussion of the teachings of the spiritual master amongst his dedicated followers. Only then will we achieve the mercy of Lord Caitanya and all of the acharyas in His line. Only then can we become enlightened from within by their grace.

Every sincere devotee has something to contribute to the discussion. To insist “We are right and you are wrong” can lead to the most destuctive outcome, especially when the truth may actually lie somewhere in the middle. Everyone who becomes involved in the discussion must respect the contribution of everyone else, even if their conclusion seems to directly contradict our own. When Krishna is pleased with the nature of our interaction as vaisnavas, the truth will become self-evident, just as the sun rises and lights up everything in the daytime.

I am only one voice, and my contribution to the discussion is not necessarily more significant that someone else’s. I am not an authority, but because you have addressed your inquiry to me, I will humbly attempt to answer your question.

Perhaps the most significant point is that for members of ISKCON, the most important source of authoritative statements concerning the process of initiation are the words, spoken or written, of our own spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. Other acharyas may be referred to in support of, or to clarify, the directives given by His Divine Grace, but they do not supersede what he himself has instructed, especially concerning the governance of his society and world-wide institution, ISKCON.

It must be admitted that the great acharya, while adhering to the basic principles of vaisnava tradition, is given a certain license to make adjustments according to time, place, culture and other circumstances. Because he acts as the emissary of the Supreme Lord, it is accepted that the adjustments he makes are not whimsical but are divinely inspired.

By the time Srila Prabhupada introduced the Hare Krishna movement, the Kali yuga had already advanced to quite an extent. In order to propagate Krishna consciousness under these conditions, one would expect radical measures to be taken by the empowered pure devotee, acting solely on Krishna’s behalf and under His direction. This Srila Prabhupada did, for example, by entrusting the worship of Radha Krishna vigraha into the hands of Westerners who before joining him had been violating all of the religious principles followed by vaisnavas. Although this practice was not approved by others, Srila Prabhupada based his methods on an instruction given by Narada that in an emergency situation, those who are qualified as sudra can be trained to do the work of the brahmana. He reasoned that the Krishna consciousness movement could not otherwise be spread throughout the world.

Whether Srila Prabhupada agreed that devotees of ISKCON could seek guidance from outside of his institution on questions of vaisnava etiquette or certain details of philosophical issues is not being debated. But one thing we know is that he never advised ISKCON managers to consult with anyone else about how to manage ISKCON or how to organize and engage its members to distribute his teachings. His Divine Grace painstakingly trained his own men to do this work, and he clearly did not want others to interfere. We would also have to include as a rule of management the system by which he wanted new members to receive initiation.

During his twelve years of preaching after leaving India in 1965, he often contemplated how things would go on in his physical absence. Just as every father hopes that his son will become qualified to surpass his own achievements, Srila Prabhupada encouraged his disciples on many occasions to become guru, to become acharya, to preach all over the world, and to make the world Krishna conscious.

After offering his association to his disciples over the years, by the time he was ready to announce his plan for future initiations after his disappearance, he could judge exactly to what extent his leading disciples would be able to follow in his footsteps by acting as gurus. Therefore, in his final instructions, he announced that he would recommend some of his disciples to serve as officiating acharyas, acting as his representatives. He did not declare anyone to be a full-fledged, fully realized, fully independent diksa guru to be worshiped by all as he himself had been worshiped. Instead, he named certain members of the GBC to occupy this post and to perform the service of accepting disciples on his behalf in addition to all of their other duties as zonal secretaries.

It was (and still is) obvious that no single individual could have been called upon to succeed him as head of the institution. This was never what Srila Prabhupada had in mind for ISKCON, even for future generations. For the entire duration of ISKCON, his GBC would manage the society and take responsibility to maintain the spiritual standards he had established. As a result of their misunderstanding of Srila Prabhupada’s final instructions, the GBC members who began to initiate thought that they were personally capable of delivering their disciples from birth and death because they were diksa gurus. The long-lasting effect of the illusion they created was to push Srila Prabhupada into the background by denying his second generation of followers direct access to him.

We all need to be reminded that this movement is Srila Prabhupada’s mercy upon the conditioned souls of this world. It is Srila Prabhupada who is meant to receive the credit and glorification for whatever is achieved by his followers throughout the course of this movement. As an eternal associate of Lord Sri Krishna, Srila Prabhupada is capable of entering the heart of any sincere follower and inspiring and guiding him or her from within. We should recall that it was he alone who was predicted by the great acharya Bhaktivinode Thakur and other vaisnava saints as that divinely empowered personality who would introduce the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu everywhere and spread the chanting of the Holy Name throughout the world. This is no small thing. And we should never think that he has abandoned us and is no longer available to us despite our most sincere prayers. His Divine Grace can be reached by whoever opens any of his books to page one and hears from him by submissive oral reception. And the role of anyone who performs initiations in ISKCON now or in the future is to simply encourage everyone to adhere themselves strictly to what has been set forth by our spiritual preceptor as the message of the disciplic succession he represents.

Because the program recommended by Srila Prabhupada did not coincide with the plan of some of his ambitious leaders to take total control of ISKCON after his disappearance, it is almost certain that any clarifying remarks he made concerning the role of officiating acharyas was suppressed. The summary report of the GBC meetings held May 27-29, 1977, for example, was sent out to all temple presidents but carefully avoided mentioning Srila Prabhupada’s recommendation for officiating acharyas.

In his perfect wisdom, His Divine Grace proposed that officiating acharyas would perform initiations after his departure. They would be charged with delivering new initiates to him by inculcating in their hearts dedication to the mission of the founder acharya. He, in turn, from within their hearts as their ever well-wisher, would deliver them to Krishna Who, by His infinite mercy, would free them from the cycle of birth and death. This is the transcendental arrangement by which Srila Prabhupada can act to deliver his followers. This “acharya purusa” approach, or keeping our focus on the founder acharya as the deliverer of the devotees, can serve as the principle of cohesion for all future generations of ISKCON members.

If the officiating acharya encounters some spiritual difficulty, the movement would not suffer the kind of disruption we have had to weather time and time again over the past two decades. The correct system of organization will inherently encourage all devotees to become qualified to preach Krishna consciousness and to act as ideal acharyas, whether one is initiating or not. Devotees will naturally seek out the association of senior members by whom they feel inspired and who instill in them faith in the Holy Name. A healthy spiritual environment will encourage younger devotees to take advantage of the association of those more experienced since according to sastra, there is no limit to the number of instructing spiritual masters one may hear from.

The current system in ISKCON encourages the guru to take total responsibility for inculcating in his disciples the correct understanding of our siddhanta. This approach disallows to a great extent the natural development of relationships with godbrothers of the guru who are supposed to be respected on the same level with their guru godbrothers. Unfortunately, those godbrothers who initiate have written into their charter that there are now “guru” and “non-guru” godbrothers, and they wonder why their godbrothers are displeased with their condescending attitude! Srila Prabhupada teaches that all vaisnavas are to be seen as spiritual masters, and that we should all place ourselves as the servant of the servant. He also said that our movement is based on love and trust, so if the initiator cannot suggest to those he is guiding to take additional instruction from his own godbrothers, then where is the love and trust? And how do you expect these young devotees to deal properly with others when their turn comes to provide leadership within Srila Prabhupada’s movement?

One practice that will be stopped by accepting Srila Prabhupada’s recommendation for officiating acharyas is bogus reinitiation. Unless the person giving initiation is not a vaisnava, it is prohibited to take initiation a second time from someone else. This is stated in the Caitanya caritamrita and elsewhere. After the formal connection has been made with the disciplic succession through initiation, one can still take shelter of other vaisnavas and get guidance from the caittya guru in response to the sincerity of one’s prayers if discrepancies in the behavior of the officiating acharya arise.

I hope my explanation has been suitable for your understanding. As stated above, I am an insignificant jiva attempting to explain what would ordinarily be inconceivable to such a conditioned soul as myself. It is only by receiving the favor of the devotees and the blessings of my Guru Maharaja that I can say anything on this subject with any coherence.

I look forward to having your ongoing association on this forum.

Your servant, Locanananda Das

Pasted from; http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET9906/ET30-4195.html

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